Craft beer continued to show strong growth in the first six months of the year, even as overall beer sales in the U.S. slumped 2 percent, the Brewers Association says. The Boulder, Colo.-based trade group reported last week that dollar sales rose 15 percent and volume was up 13 percent.
Over the same period last year, dollar sales rose 14 percent and volume increased 12 percent.
About 7.3 million barrels of beer were sold by craft brewers, up from 6.4 million barrels over the first half of 2012, the group said.
"Demand for beer produced by small and independent brewers has never been higher, as evidenced by increased production and the hundreds of new breweries joining the playing field each year," Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, said in a prepared statement. "Beer drinkers nationwide are responding positively to high-quality, full-flavored, diverse offerings from American craft brewing companies that continue to innovate and push the envelope."
The association reported that there were 2,538 breweries operating in the U.S. as of June 30, an increase of 446 from a year ago. The group also said there were 1,605 breweries in planning stages.
"More breweries are currently operating in the U.S. than at any time since the 1870s." Gatza said. "With each new brewery opening, American craft brewers are reinforcing the U.S.’s position as the world’s most diverse brewing nation. It’s a very good time to be an American beer lover."